From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dussehra: Off with the nose

Ramayana Dance (Nguyen Thanh Long)
Dussehra, the traditional Hindu celebration of the victory of good over evil, is rooted within stories from the Ramayana.  And no story is as closely associated with Dussehra as that of the "anti-heroine" Surpanakha…

Wikipedia tells us that "Surpanakha" is Sanskrit for "sharp, long nails" (as in "hero's nightmare").  Perhaps because of the sharpness of these nails, Surpanakha is also referred to as the "arrow that set in motion the chain of events leading directly to the destruction of Ravana [her demon brother, the powerful King of Lanka]."

How so? 

After Surpanakha married Dushtabuddhi (another unsavory character in the Ramayana's cast of villains), he began to covet some of Ravana's power.  Ravana's solution was straightforward – he had his brother-in-law killed.  This greatly angered the now-widowed Surpanakha.  She began spending a good deal of time in the forest visiting with Dushtabuddhi's family members.  While doing so, the supposedly-distraught widow made a bid to marry not only Rama [the handsome – and very much married - young Prince of Ayodhya], but also his brother Lakshmana.

Because Rama was thoroughly devoted to his wife, Sita – and because Lakshmana was thoroughly devoted
to the two of them – Surpanakha's advances did not go over well.  In fact, after Surpanakha also threatened to eat Sita for breakfast, Lakshmana's response was quite understandable.  He lopped off Surpanakha's nose (and perhaps her ears, to boot).

The domino effect kicked in big time after that.  One karmic thing led to another, and before you could say
"Dushtabuddhi" three times fast, he and his evil consorts had been relegated to the hellish halls of corruption.  Which just goes to show that evil doesn't pay.  So keep on the sunny side of goodness in order to truly honor many more Dussehras…


Copyright October 24, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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